Great Things Come in Little Packages
It was a bad day to be a dinosaur. It was a bad day to be a T-Rex. Particularly if your name was Alex and you were the last dinosaur on Earth. Alex glanced at the Sun. Dang, it was hot. Al Gore was right about global warming, at least in a reverse time series sort of way.
Alex raised his claw to wipe the sweat from his eyebrow. Mistake. Being a lizard-or-bird like creature, the scientists are still debating, he didn’t sweat and he didn’t have eyebrows. He did have razor-sharp talons which pierced the skin above his eye. Dang, that hurt. He wished mommy were there to comfort him. But it was probably just as well, seeing how she tried to eat him when he was six-weeks old.
On and on, the last of the T-Rexes trudged. Where to, he could not say. How long, he could not now. He only knew he need food. He needed it fast. Real fast, before this short story ran out of words and he could see by scrolling down it would only be four paragraphs.
He thirsted. Oh, how he thirsted. He thirsted like a shopper at WalMart two minutes before the start of Black Friday sales. On and on, Alex trudged. His breath became more and more labored. He fancied the gentle breeze made rippling patterns on his loose skin.
An oasis appeared on the horizon. He forced his aching legs to give one last effort. Faster and faster, he careened. Then there it was, an oasis with hundreds of hundreds of delicious apatosauri grazing unconcernedly around a pool of life giving water. The cave to the right displayed a big banner, “Get it here, T-Rex big boy.” Alex tried to grin. Couldn’t. Evolution hadn’t given him lips. Be he knew he died and gone to heaven.
Well, he was partly right about that last statement. His last step was off a twenty-foot cliff. The sharp rock at the bottom did nothing to break his fall. Indeed, it shattered his kneecap. (Gosh, I hope for the accuracy of this story, T-Rexes had kneecaps.)
The rock did more than break his kneecap. It destroyed his ability to move. That destroyed his ability to hunt. No hunting. No food. Alex the T-Rex was dying. And he had proto-psoriasis. A bacterium entering the gaping wound in his knee saw to that.
The bacterium flourished in the T-Rex kneecap. One day it split into two. Later it split into four. The grandchild bacteria repeated this cycle of life over and over again. The Earth’s continents shifted. The dinosaur knee cap traveled north, always north until harsh coldness froze the proto-psoriasis colony.
But they did not die. They went dormant and waited, waited for a thaw that would bring them a new host.
Little Timmy Tyler didn’t want to be at Dinosaur National Monument. He wanted to be home playing Mario On Steroids alongside his friends. But here he was and it was hot. He wiped sweat from his brow. Did he thank evolution? No. He was too hungry. His stomach rumbled.
“Mom, can we eat soon?”
“No dear, we came all the way out here to find dinosaur bones for Daddy’s museum and we’re not going in until we find one. Have a snack.”
Thank goodness for the Twinkie in his shirt pocket. It was the last Twinkie ever sold on Earth. He’d had to use Tae Kwan Do moves on several people struggling to get it.
Timmy unwrapped the dessert of all desserts and brought it to his eager tasted buds. A glint appeared by his left foot. There was a tiny bone fragment that bore an uncanny resemblance to Justin Bieber’s profile. Timmy picked up the fragment. Millennia upon millennia of erosion had smoothed this fragment everywhere, everywhere but one spot
That one sharp spot pricked Timmy’s thumb. A colony of proto-psoriasis woke up, flexed their cilia, and stampeded Timmy’s body. Oh how they would attack him. They had eons of mutations stored up. They headed for the stomach where they would mutate and mutate and eat Timmy from the inside out.
Timmy bit into the Twinkie. His stomach tried valiantly to break down Hostess’s golden snack but failed, failed miserably.
But in failure, there is often victory and so there was now. The stomach’s defeated gastric juices had left behind a goodly pool of nasty chemicals, chemicals that rats and cockroaches normally gave wide berth. But the invading proto-psoriasis having been dormant for sixty-five-millions years knew nothing of this. Indeed, the chemicals smelled like a delicacy to them and they gleefully ingested the toxic poisons and died.
The proto-psoriasis would not infect Timmy. They would not spread to other people. They would not wipe out humanity. And Timmy took another bite of the world’s last Twinkie.
– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef
My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.